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Wendy Reuer, Published January 16 2011

Moorhead report cards get an upgrade

Moorhead parents will soon see a different kind of report card coming home in their children’s backpacks.

Gone are the binary days of “S” and “U” denoting satisfactory or unsatisfactory performance. Teachers will also no longer rate proficiency levels in core areas with a number.

Instead, Moorhead teachers will now fill out an electronic report card, using full words to indicate levels of proficiency in elementary grade levels.

These new progress reports also show the return of a conduct report.

The new report cards provide a more comprehensive overview of students’ progress in kindergarten through fifth grade than before, said Vicki Breneman, Moorhead Schools Instructional Coach.

Teachers will type the words “outstanding,” “proficient,” “developing,” “limited” or “not assessed” in each subject category. They may also direct parents to a comment section of the report.

“We have more options available to us as teachers,” Breneman said.

The “Skills Necessary for Learning” category assesses student conduct, Breneman said – an area not assessed in former report cards. The category examines skills such as working with others, communication and whether students are effective and ethical users of technology.

Breneman said the ethical use of technology is a needed skill in today’s classroom. One aspect is students must learn about copyrighted material in electronic format.

“Kids don’t always realize that cutting and pasting is plagiarism when they are young,” Breneman said. “Also, there are places that are on the Internet that are not appropriate for in school.”

The process of creating the cards took nearly two years and numerous meetings of teachers and volunteers on the Elementary Progress Report Committee.

Breneman said the former progress reports were inadequate in today’s education world. The older reports did not address essential steps of student development and were not aligned with current reforms in teaching, she said.

“We had no consistency between grade levels. We’ve always been focused on the standards,” Breneman said.

However, Breneman said the biannual progress report is only one part of monitoring student progress.

“It can’t be a catch-all. It can’t report the needs of absolutely everything for every student, but it needs to report some things,” Breneman said.

She said teachers who see students not developing in subject areas will continue to communicate with parents and the student for better achievement.

At the end of the month, the report cards will be printed out on 11-by-17 paper, folded into thirds and sent home with students.

Board member Bill Tomhave said he was happy to see a conduct assessment return for students.

“This is head and shoulders better than anything I’ve ever experienced,” Tomhave said.

Board member Cindy Fagerlie agreed.

“I really like these. These are fantastic,” Fagerlie said. “We should try to market it, maybe generate some income.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530